Ermanno Taviani

Film and fascist propaganda

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This paper deals with the history of Fascist Propaganda as an issue overlooked by Italian historians. This is due both to an old-fashioned conception of the historical work by Italian historians, and to the difficulty of raising audiovisual sources to the scientific status of historiography. There is no doubt that cinema propaganda was one of the pillars of the fascist Regime's search for consensus, as was highlighted in studies by P.V. Cannistraro and M. Argentieri. Nevertheless this historical matter has been analyzed in greater depth by film studies than by historical studies. The 1970s saw a turning point in the studies on fascist cinema, marked by its strong reassessment paralleled by a lower standing for neorealism. It was a debate marked by a strongly ideological climate. In the decades to follow, the fascist cultural and social project was reconsidered in a different way, with reference to the category of «modernity» proposed by such historians as V. de Grazia, and to similar tendencies in the other Western countries. Many essays and history books have focused on the various aspects of fascist political propaganda and its most important figures, such as Luigi Freddi.

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